The woes of those who struggle with weight loss – even getting that last 10 pounds to release – is filled with frustration, emotional ups and downs, countless dollars spent on weight loss programs and a lot of time, energy and willpower.
The “perfect weight” is probably the most sought after “golden ring” in America, maybe the world.
World Obesity Day is celebrated on March 4th, and although it affects over 35% of all adults in America, not all those with a weight problem are obese. But the struggle with weight is the same.
How did this happen? There are a lot of contributing factors
Lifestyle factors contribute heavily. They include eating processed foods, lack of activity and exercise and high stress levels.
Processed food diets supply minimum nutritional value compared to the calorie content, and almost zero fiber. We are a nation that is overfed but undernourished. We eat well but we don’t eat healthy. There is a difference. Eating well means that we always have food to eat. We are not going hungry. Eating healthy means that our bodies are getting the nutrition they need to thrive.
Which category do you fall into; eating well or eating health?
Today’s population is far more stressed than previous generations. Part of the reason, is the amount of work pressure modern men and women engage in now vs. what their ancestors had. Deadlines create time pressure. Cost cutting strategies result in less people to do more work and they can feel overwhelmed. Managing a career and raising a family add more stress.
Stress is the common thread in all of these because we encounter problems, conflicts, differences of opinion, create goals, pressures, have expectations and fears, all of which puts us under stress.
Common Stress Triggers and Emotional Eating
When we feel out of control, helpless or powerless, we are stressed. When we are afraid, we are stressed. When we are pressured by time, we are stressed. When we are angry or frustrated, we are stressed. When we are stressed, some of us turn to food to calm ourselves.
Stress can trigger cravings for many different foods. This is also called emotional eating and is the biggest saboteur of weight loss efforts. When we are emotionally vulnerable, we may turn to comfort foods. A stressful day at work may prompt a visit to the cupboards as soon as we arrive home. Our intention of just grabbing a quick snack may turn into devouring the whole box of crackers or bag of chips. We may justify eating so much because we feel like we worked so hard and deserve this treat. But we may pay the price of overeating by feeling bloated and ashamed of ourselves.
Binge eaters are particularly prone to emotional eating when under stress. Though for them, it is a matter of using food for comfort, not to satisfy a hunger urge. When a binge eater is stressed, all they want to do is feel good. At some time in their life, probably when young and they had cake and ice cream at birthday parties, or attended holiday dinners with lots of good food and fun relatives, or grandparents gave them sweets, they associated food with feeling happy and being loved.
When stressed, they reach for the foods that they ate during those times when they felt good. It is a subconscious reaction. They don’t know why they crave the food, they just do and when they eat it they feel better – for a while. Then feelings of guilt, shame, self-loathing and others set in. This cycle continues day after day, week after week, month after month until their obesity becomes a major health condition. Diets fail them because they focus on calories in/calories out and not the causes of the stress triggers.
Eating for Repressed Emotions
Emotional eating can involve more than just a stress reaction. It can be a way of expressing emotions that are otherwise repressed. One woman, Jill, had a constant peanut craving. Through the use of a therapy, that is explained below, she discovered that the force of chewing and crunching the peanuts was satisfying a desire. Ultimately, she realized that she was angry at her ex-husband who used to nag her about her weight and she had been biting back her feelings and her words. Eating the peanuts was how she processed the anger of not being able to express her feelings to her ex-husband. The chewing was a forceful action that satisfied her angry feelings and the biting action compared to biting back her feelings and words that she never expressed.
Weight is Safety
Weight can be a safety buffer between us and someone/something else for protection. This can be from being sexually assaulted or wanting to create distance between ourselves and someone who consistently acts aggressively toward us.
An example might be that a man complements a woman then moves his hand up her thigh. Not knowing how to enforce a sexual boundary, the woman may freeze and feel powerless. Weight gain then becomes safe so as to not attract too much attention.
In the case of sexual abuse, the weight is a way to make us unattractive to the opposite sex. Deep down inside we want to look good – much of which is from cultural conditioning that skinny is beautiful – but if we have been sexually threatened, abused or are uncomfortable with comments of how good we look from the opposite sex, once we achieve a certain weight, we begin to feel uncomfortable with the attention and feel afraid. So, we begin to gain back the weight as a form of feeling safe.
Weight Keeps Certain People Distant
Weight can literally be a physical barrier to people that we find to be too aggressive. The weight becomes a form of protection from verbal abuse as was the case with a man who weighed over 400 lbs. and discovered that his weight was a boundary between him and his loud, hostile partner. Once he recognized this connection, he quit his job, found fulfilling work and lost the weight.
Love Me; Love Me Not
Beliefs are powerful when it comes to our weight. If we believe that our body type attracts romance, we may want to lose weight to attract a mate. But the reverse is also true. If we believe that our partner only loves us for our body then we may retain the weight to test our partner to make sure that they love us for who we are and not how we look.
A Cause of Cravings
Beliefs created from childhood experiences have a powerful hold on our adult behavior. Janine discovered how powerful when she decided to control her ice cream craving. As a young child, she remembered her very petite, very beautiful mother eating a bowl of ice cream every evening after dinner but Janine wasn’t allowed to have any. The house rule was that Janine didn’t get any sweets and the freezer and candy cupboard were padlocked. As an adult, every time she satisfied her ice cream craving, she would tell herself that she “deserved it”. She remembered that as a child, when her mother denied her ice cream, Janine felt like she didn’t “deserve it” which led to the current cravings when she was free to buy and have whatever she wanted to eat.
The above illustrates how stress and emotional eating are more often than not the root causes of weight gain. They are the triggers that cause overeating, binge eating and cravings that are driving the obesity epidemic.
Limiting Beliefs About Weight Loss
The majority of Americans have never been in armed combat, but we each fight our own personal battles with incidents that affect our self-esteem, feelings of worthiness and deserving, embarrassment, resentment, guilt, regret, loneliness, anger, bitterness and more. Experiences that create these emotional reactions in us can also lead to the creation of limiting beliefs.
A limiting belief around weight could be that you’ll never be able to lose and keep off the weight that you want because your weight has fluctuated so much over the years that you don’t believe that anything will change it. Limiting beliefs then become much broader in scope and become a belief about yourself such as “I don’t deserve to lose the weight because….”
Examples would be:
- Jean believed that she was unlovable because her parents paid more attention to her sister.
- When Lisa was in high school, the thin girls taunted her about her weight. She formed a belief that “all thin women are mean” and decided that she didn’t want to become “one of them”. This became a major subconscious block that sabotaged her weight loss efforts for years.
Other beliefs are:
- I’m not good enough.
- I’m not worthy.
- I’m stupid.
- I have no self-control.
- I can’t do anything right.
These limiting beliefs subconsciously undermine our weight loss efforts because we when are exposed to a situation that reminds us of our “belief of choice” about ourselves, we are stressed/traumatized and reach for our “comfort food”.
The Long-Term Solution
Unfortunately, most weight loss methods only use the calories in/calories out approach and do little to address the emotional connection to the underlying stress triggers which originated in a life experience that was traumatic, surprising, unexpected or shocking. Memories of these experiences are stored in the subconscious mind. When a current life situation is similar to the original “trauma” the subconscious mind sends a signal of danger which initiates the stress response and triggers a reaction. This emotional and physical reaction is automatic like a knee-jerk or having someone push your buttons. Conventional treatments, that have been developed over the decades, to ease emotional trauma are psychotherapy, counseling and support groups.
Another way is through energy work. There are many energy healing modalities to choose from, but one of the best ways to address the triggers that contribute to emotional eating and weight gain is a combination of talk therapy and acupuncture.
EFT, or Emotional Freedom Techniques, combines talk therapy with acupressure for fast, thorough release of memories that trigger stress. It helps to calm emotions and remove energy blockages caused by the trauma. Unlike traditional talk therapy that can last for months or years, EFT gets results in weeks or months. EFT is for those who want to obtain fast, extraordinary results.
Another name for EFT is Tapping because it involves tapping with your fingertips on acupuncture points on your face and upper body. Research has verified that this technique of putting pressure on acupoints is as effective as acupuncture itself. The difference between EFT and acupuncture is that EFT also engages the stored memories and emotions in the subconscious part of the brain resulting in a more complete release of trapped emotions and energy.
Chronic obesity and problems with repetitive diets to lose weight are symptoms of deeper emotional conflicts. The combination of neutralizing negative thoughts and emotions and releasing energy blockages in the body through the use of EFT is a proven, fast, extremely effective process that makes weight loss possible like never before.
Recipients of EFT repeatedly say how much lighter they feel. Where they once felt trapped in an emotional prison, they now sense freedom. Joy replaces fear. Guilt, shame remorse, anger, sadness and depression are released. Feelings of inadequacy, unlovability, failure, and other negative beliefs are neutralized. Their bodies relax and they feel at ease. Energy levels rise. Brain fog clears and mental clarity and creativity is restored. Physical and emotional pain subsides, inflammation recedes, and weight loss becomes effortless. They feel at peace and hope for their future is restored.
Who This Can Help
Anyone who has experienced YoYo Dieting, has battled their weight for any length of time, is chronically obese or submitted to surgeries to reduce their weight but has gained it back can be helped with EFT.
Releasing the emotional triggers liberates the mind and body allowing viable weight loss that lasts and a return to total wellness and hopes and dreams fulfilled.
If what you have just read makes sense to you and you want to learn more, or get started shedding your pounds, please schedule a free, no obligation consultation with me, Life Wellness Coach, Christine Hunt, at www.calendly.com/hfhw/meeting and let me help you get over it so you can get on with it!